The Colorado Catholic Conference is urging supporters of traditional marriage to make another push to oppose a bill that will give same-sex couples tax rights.
Senate Bill 19 is headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk for signing after the Legislature quickly passed the contentious bill. If signed, the bill will change the terms “husband,” “wife” and “spouse” on tax forms to “two taxpayers” and will support a ruling that allows couples married out-of-state to file joint state returns.
Conference director Jenny Kraska said the bill should be vetoed by the governor because it doesn’t respect the constitutional definition of marriage.
“They’re slowly chipping away at marriage and they’re using the tax code to do it,” she told the Denver Catholic Register about supporters of the bill.
Shortly after the bill passed the House, nine same-sex couples filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
The governor and Denver City Clerk Debra Johnson are defendants named in the lawsuit filed Feb. 19.
The lawsuit is one of several filed across the nation to challenge homosexual marriage bans. Colorado permits civil unions between same-sex couples but the constitution bans homosexual marriage.
Hickenlooper said in a statement that “On the underlying question of equal rights, we believe Colorado made a step forward when we passed bipartisan civil unions legislation last year.”
Some advocacy groups, including One Colorado and the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, expressed support for the lawsuits.
Lawmakers also spoke in support of the action, including House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who voted for Senate Bill 19 and the civil unions law, calling it a step toward marriage equality.
Homosexual marriage advocates are also expected to put an initiative for same-sex marriage on the November 2016 ballot.
In a Feb. 14 interview on AM station 710 KNUS with host Dan Caplis, former U.S. attorney for Colorado Michael Norton said the entire process is an effort to undermine Colorado’s marriage amendment.
“I think the Democrats who control the Senate and the House as well as Governor Hickenlooper knows they cannot change the marriage amendment (and) know people won’t change the marriage amendment,” he said on the radio. “So they’re trying to set it up for the courts to do so.”
Other state’s challenges to homosexual marriage bans, including Utah and Oklahoma, are before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The appeals court will review the federal courts’ decisions that voided the constitutional bans. It’s expected the lawsuits will culminate in a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2006, Colorado voters passed Amendment 43, which prohibits same-sex couples from getting married.
Marriage, the conference says, is the cornerstone of society and should be protected.
“It is not simply a religious issue, it is a matter of common sense and has a long tradition that pre-dates Christian faith,” the conference announced in an email. “Any attempt to redefine marriage should be challenged.”
Contact Gov. John Hickenlooper
Ask the governor to veto Senate Bill 19 and uphold the state constitution, which defines marriage between one man and one woman.
Email: www.colorado.gov/govhdir (Click on the “share your opinion“ link)